By: Dan Slaubaugh
Good morning, everyone. If you watched last night's game, your heart was probably beating a million miles per hour. Yes, that is fast. The Wolves defeated the Atlanta Hawks in what was an absolute roller-coaster ride until time expired. After leading by as much as 34, the Wolves (almost) completely collapsed the 2nd half under Atlanta's scorching defense, blowing the entire 34pt lead. But this isn't the same Wolves team we've seen in previous years. This team is resilient. Minnesota absolutely shut down the Hawks offense in crunch time, resulting in their 4th straight road W. Again, they were lead by franchise cornerstones Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, who are just 20 and 19 years of age, respectively. The present-future is bright.
Tonight, the Wolves (4-2) are back in Minneapolis to take on the Charlotte Hornets (2-4), who are coming off a 114-94 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Minnesota is looking for their first home win of the season, while Charlotte is looking for their 3rd win in 4 games. Here's what you need to know.
What: Wolves vs. Hornets
Where: Target Center. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When: 7:00pm CST
Where to watch: Fox Sports North Plus
Where to listen: 830 WCCO Radio
What to watch for:
Dynamic Duo: Yes, I'm talking about Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, who are both ranked in the top 4 in scoring this season among players 20 or younger. They have willed Minnesota to back-to-back wins against a pair of top contenders in the East. According to Timberwolves PR, Towns became the youngest player in NBA history with 4 double-doubles within his first 6 games. He's also just the 4th player in franchise history to record 3 blocks in 5 straight games. And Wiggins, well, he's totaled 64 points within his last 2 games. This duo is going to dominate the NBA for years.
Big KAT vs. Big Al: This is the matchup of the night. While Towns has been extremely impressive this season, Al Jefferson keeps doing Al Jefferson things. He's averaged 15.8ppg, 7.5rpg, and 1bpg. These two should be clashing down low all night.
Smitchell's rotations: He's been leaving the 2nd unit in far too long, especially in the 4th quarter. In my opinion, the starters should start trickling back into the game with about 8 minutes left in the 4Q. This needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. Then again, Minnesota will probably need their 2nd unit carrying heavier minutes tonight because they are on the end of a back-to-back. Point is, make it happen, soon.
Points: Kevin Martin (18.8)
Rebounds: Karl-Anthony Towns (9.6)
Assists: Ricky Rubio (9.2)
Steals: Ricky Rubio (2.2)
Blocks: Karl-Anthony Towns (3)
Points: Kemba Walker (17.2)
Rebounds: Marvin Williams (8.8)
Assists: Kemba Walker (5.3)
Steals: Kemba Walker (1.3)
Blocks: Al Jefferson (1)
PG: Ricky Rubio
SG: Andrew Wiggins
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Nicolas Batum
SF: Marvin Williams
PF: P.J. Hairston
C: Al Jefferson
OUT: Nikola Pekovic (still recovering from surgery on right achilles)
OUT: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (shoulder)
That's all I have for this one. Minnesota moved up to the 4 spot in the Western Conference with a win last night and it'd pretty awesome for them to keep the momentum they've created with a W tonight.